good causes

Fair tips campaign

Tipping, of the sort where you leave a few pounds extra to your nice restaurant waiter, is a kind of bizarre custom anyway in some ways. Most people doing other sorts of jobs don't tend to get tips, and you'd never really think to give your bank clerk an extra fiver if they paid your cheque in particular fast. Nonetheless, they are part of established UK culture. Also, to be fair, the kind of jobs you do expect to get them in are probably some of the most annoying, worst paid jobs around, so why not reward your server with some shiny shiny coins if they do a good job?

Well, one good reason why not is because in many cases your tip does not actually benefit the person you think you are paying. Rather, some restaurant owners actually pocket all the tips themselves and, at best, recycle it to make the sub-minimum wage they pay their staff up to the bare legal minimum come the end of the week. Outrage.

Stop Virgin (twice, slightly NSFW)

Now we live in a world where high-speed Internet access is almost as essential to modern rich-guy life as say water, net neutrality is a potential hot topic. Net neutrality refers to the historic practice of your ISP granting (kind of) equal access to the internet, no matter what you do with that access – subject to legality au naturelle. From Google's – who of course have a vested interest in this – guide:

Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet…the broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content.

Another cashback opportunity:

You all know how much the Poorhouse loves his Quidco, and a few other cashy-cashback sites. If he couldn't steal gain a profit of 1% of his other-wised expensed train tickets per transaction, the world would be a sad place. To be serious though, you can rake in serious money in the world of cashback.

Kathryn, from a site called was kind enough to drop the Poorhouse a line. She runs a site in many ways similar to quidco. You do the whole click-through-links-to-retailer business, and you get 100% of the commission, minus an annual £5 fee. Where it is slightly different though is a) Amazon is on it (2.5% cashback at time of writing) and b) the "give" bit of "giveortake" refers to the fact you can choose to donate your cashback directly to charity through it.

Don't recycle things you don't own

Who doesn’t love "corporate social responsibility"? Yep, CSR, that token greenwash effort a lot of companies try to pretend that they actually care about yourself and the environment nearly as much as they care about the bottom line.

As such, it wasn't that surprising to be sent the following email, anonymised a bit in a vague attempt to prevent the source from job-loss.

Join the search for Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett, adventurer and record-setter extraordinaire in the world of balloons, aeroplanes, boats etc. al sadly went missing early last week. Last seen taking off on what would be expected to be a nice easy little jaunt for him, he has at this point not returned.

As might be expected, a stack of search-planes et al. are out looking for him, but even if you don't have a pilots license, any money, or anything other than a connection to t'internet you can help the effort.

Blair not bothered

For those, who like the Poorhouse, managed to miss the infinite televisual broadcasts and immense net-wide dissemination of it, here is Tony Blair's meeting with Catherine "Lauren" Tate. All in the name of charity of course.

More free(ish) stuff - food and bags

A couple of righteous bargain-creating things to tell today, surfacing from the awesome MoneySavingExpert site. One will fill your belly, the other will give you both more room in your cupboards and a warm satisfaction at having tried to do something to save the planet a bit. Maybe.

Food first. There are 27 HA! HA! Bars around the country, which in the Poorhouse's limited experience do some rather tasty food. Find your local here, although if you don't live in a large-sized urban area you might be disappointed. Then print this voucher off and as long as you can persuade a friend to go eat with you before the end of April this year you can get a £5 discount, you cheap date you.

Moving on to planet-time now...

Participating in Red Nose Day could get you sent to prison

This coming Friday is the regular donate-a-thon and TV hog known as Red Nose Day. By buying the paraphernalia, doing silly things to raise money and pledging money and so on you can donate to help people who really need your spare change more than you probably do.

But be careful where you participate from. Despite this being a wonderously effective way of raising the moolah for the needy, Bloggerheads have noticed that since the introduction of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 you are in proper danger of breaking the law should you decide to join in - even if it's just by wearing a red nose. You may be punished with a £1000 fine, or should actually be involved in organising a related event you're up for £2500 or 51 weeks imprisonment.

Holidays or end of the world?

Blair seems to have gone mad again, this time on the theme of climate change. A few months ago, he had this to say on the subject:

Climate change won't just affect hot countries or those in the developing world - it will affect us all. The report is clear: We are heading towards catastrophic tipping points in our climate unless we act…Creating cleaner energy whilst using less has to be the key.

Today it is reported that he said that asking Britons to consider not going on quite so many long-haul flights for mindless recreation was "a bit impractical".

Away in a sweatshop

Something seasonal - well, at least it's the right month. The Poorhouse wishes a very merry forthcoming Christmas to all and sundry. One rather large subsection of the population who won't be swilling back the brandy and eating stupid amounts of pudding or in any way be having a semblance of a good time will of course be those who are forced to work in a sweatshop. They will most likely still be near-slaving away for pennies in illegal, dangerous and entirely amoral conditions, to make the things us especially in the "developed" western world like to pointlessly buy throw away as often as possible, especially at this time of year.

Even if you don't want to entirely eschew your consumerist lifestyle and spend your time changing the world to free these modern-day-slaves, then at least let's remember them throughout the holiday season.

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